Friday, October 27, 2017

UPDATED:: 'Am I going to die?' Gay man testifies at church trial

UPDATE::  WoFF’s Walker trial in Matthew Fenner case continued
The State versus Robert Walker trial scheduled to have begun Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 has been continued to a future date. In a memo to Judge Marvin Pope on Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Garland F. Byers, Jr. filed an email  on Wednesday stating that “by Order of this Court without objection by the State due to new discovery which has just been generated in regards to this case and which defense counsel will need in order to adequately prepare for trial,” confirming the continuance.

The district attorney’s office at the same time notified the Buncombe County Clerk of Superior Court that the case would not be called on Monday. Presiding Judge Marvin Pope had ordered a change of venue for the Matthew Fenner cases after a mistrial was declared in the Brooke Covington case and the extensive publicity concerning the Word of Faith Fellowship members’ cases.

The WoFF has recently gained national and international publicity regarding its worship practice of blasting, alleged non-payment of Brazilian workers, broken families, arranged marriages, and possible misconduct of some of the attorneys within the church as reported by the Associated Press.
UPDATE::  Juror's documents lead to mistrial in gay beating trial
A judge held a juror in contempt and declared a mistrial Tuesday in the case of a North Carolina church minister charged in the beating of a congregant who says he was attacked to expel his "homosexual demons." 
Superior Court Judge Gary Gavenus immediately sentenced the juror, Perry Shade Jr., to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Gavenus said Shade brought in three documents Tuesday and handed them out to his fellow jurors. One of the documents was North Carolina case law.

Gavenus said he wasn't sure when a new trial would be scheduled for Brooke Covington, 58, a longtime minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Covington faced up to two years in prison if convicted on charges of kidnapping and assaulting former member Matthew Fenner in January 2013.

"This juror has impaired the integrity and fairness of the trial ... therefore I am removing this juror and declaring a mistrial," Gavenus said.

The audience gasped. Fenner dropped his head.

A North Carolina man thought he was "going to die" when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his "homosexual demons," he testified Thursday.

Matthew Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina.

Fenner, 23, said Covington was the leader in a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants. He said Covington pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, "God said there is something wrong in your life."
Covington faces up to two years in prison if convicted. She is the first of five church members to face trial in the case. Each defendant will be tried separately.

'Am I going to die?' Gay man testifies at church trial

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